Packing and Preparing

So here we go again. Checking over the bike, packing the panniers, testing the technology, and thinking about why we are once again setting off to cycle across Europe in November – not traditionally the most clement month of the year.

I’m not foolish enough to think that the weather will be as kind as on my recent Release into the Wild retirement celebration ride. I just hope that we don’t have days as bad as some of the weather we encountered on our way to Paris two years ago.

For the September-October ride the woolly hat and waterproof socks migrated to the bottom of the panniers and stayed there – I don’t imagine we’ll be so lucky this time. Also I suspect I’ll need to pack some warmer clothes. On the Paris ride I wore shorts and I do remember at one point looking down and thinking to myself “why are my legs that funny blue colour” – but that was when we were pedalling into the sleet. Shorts are much more comfortable to ride in and while you are burning energy in the muscles they stay warm from the inside and skin dries faster than clothes, but I think I might take a tracksuit bottom this time in case we hit a cold patch. (I don’t possess any lycra).

Must take more spare batteries for the GPS – in France I ended up having to buy more from a supermarche and they didn’t last as long. Also the same batteries are used in the lights which I fear we may be needing. Which reminds me to pack a torch.

The bike is in good shape after riding it over 2000km last month. Just minor cleaning and lubrication needed. I started then with a new chain and the wear is now about 0.8 so should be ok for the next 600km till I get back.

The technology is fairly straightforward – a small Garmin Vista HCx GPS for distance and speed, a 8″ Android generic tablet sits on top of the handlebar bag and replaces the pile of paper maps and does routing (not entirely satisfactorily – see here). It also doubles in the evenings for blogging and reading books. A full charge just about lasts a long days ride. Then I also take a proper camera (which wifi’s in to the tablet for uploading) with a viewfinder which is much easier to use than a phone- or tablet- camera. Oh and also a mobile phone.

So why are we doing this? That merits a separate post. We will all say something about that in the cathedral tomorrow for the send-off.